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The Bastard Called Poverty



The widow cried so hard all day, her tear ducts literally dried up. Her soul was bitter, her face a mask of different painful expressions all at once. Her children sat in despair a few meters away.

The evening cold was starting to bite into their bodies as they shivered uncontrollably. It was not just the pain that death had forced prematurely on them; it was truly cold outside where they huddled together for warmth.

Having served Nigeria meritoriously for many years, their father had died in the line of duty. Within two days, the organization he had worked for, one of Nigeria’s topmost security agencies, evicted the family from his official residence.

Within just a few days.

The accidental widow with no money and no hope for the immediate and distant future called unto the universe. She wept for her late husband. She blamed him for dying; if he had stayed alive nobody would dare to treat them like slaves in their own country.

Somebody somewhere was speaking to another somebody who had resources and a heart filled with empathy.

While the widow and her children cried, starved, and shivered in the dark, cold night, that somebody with a good heart ordered that a three bedroom house be bought for them immediately. Not rent. He paid to buy the house and gave that widow and her lovely children shelter (one of the most basic human needs) forever.

Atiku saved them.

I greeted every elderly person that walked into that beautiful office in Asokoro.

I had been seated for twenty minutes as I waited my turn to speak with the big man. Suddenly this frail looking man, long of years and swaggering in a slightly bent manner, walked in. He was spotting a kaftan.

Due to his age the big man’s orderly let him jump queue and go in before those of us who had been waiting.

I was sat closest to the door leading to the big man’s office. I overheard the conversation; the old man had only come to thank the big man for an assistance rendered recently.

As he was about to leave, the big man routinely asked after the old man’s son. Apparently he had not seen the boy for a while.

“He made good grades in school. He’s gotten admission to study for his Masters but…” the old man’s voice faded before he could finish the sentence.

The big man understood.

He asked how much the fee was. The answer was in the millions of naira.

“Say no more.” He instructed that double that figure be released to enable the young man go and study in relative peace of mind.

I asked him why he was so kind.

He said, “Mike, young people are the future of Nigeria, if not the present. In our time education was mostly free. We were privileged. But now we must do what we can to ensure that your generation gets the best possible education so that today’s complex nation will not overwhelm you guys as you begin to take over leadership of Nigeria.”

The next day I saw that young man, his old father, and his excited mother return to express gratitude. The big man would have none of it. He told them that the glory belonged to Allah.

Atiku came to the rescue.
I would talk about a lot of more heart-piercing interventions that Atiku Abubakar GCON has carried out in rural areas, cities outside his immediate ethnic communities (he has wives from other regions in Nigeria too) but space would not afford me the luxury.

But there is something about a man’s aura, the purest essence of his existence, that rubs off on any project he touches.

Something about Atiku makes poverty become wealth, pain become joy, and impossible become nothing as the Waziri breathes life into it. Be it business, official assignments, and charity interventions.

He does it different and the remarkable thing is, he does not do it to be recognized; it is who he is. The man loves to educate, revive, and empower. He hates to see suffering around him.

You know that story they say about rich men who build mansions in environments populated by wretched people? And how such men have to drive their Rolls Royce through slums to get to their mansions? Atiku loves to have his friends uplifted too, so that they can help him uplift others, and the chain continues to link up more and more people.

He believes in wealth creation, provision of, not just the basic human needs but, systems that encourage and enable citizens to create wealth.

It is this mindset that he applies to leadership. It is a healthy mindset for Nigerians to be part of. A Nigeria where majority of the citizens have access to the tools necessary to create employment, secure those jobs, feed families, grow businesses, and generally live better lives, is the natural mission he has tasked himself with.

If you remove yourself from the shackled pettiness of propaganda you will see why our nation needs a certain national character that Atiku possesses. It’s not just about oral eloquence; Nigeria is too complex now to depend on simplistic things.

We need an experienced warrior to steady the ship and unite the tribes. We need one who has empathy. Anybody can attempt to lead. But not everyone can pretend to be empathic. That one is a God-bestowed quality; if you don’t have it, you don’t.

Given our present circumstances I like to believe that we all realize how a man’s aura, his divine essence, can affect the entire nation negatively or otherwise.

Poverty is a bastard and anyone who glorifies poverty will leave you in abject poverty while expecting you to be grateful that you are not dead, only poor.

Call him what you like, Atiku Abubakar has the correct personality to lead Nigeria at this point. I know because I have encountered and experienced the man.

You should too.

Michael Achimugu writes from Abuja

Ike Ani is a Freelance writer whose quest constantly is to relate happenings around the world to human daily living. He's also a song writer and singer, Acoustic Guitarist, and Teacher.


Yobe state Declares ‘War’ On Open Defecation, Environmental Degradation




Yobe State Government has declared war against open defecation, communicable diseases and environmental degradation through advocacy and community sensitization.

Declaring the war on Monday in Potiskum town, Governor Mai Mala Buni, represented by his Deputy Idi Barde Gubana, said the dangers and consequences of open defecation in the state ranging from infestation of diseases such as typhoid, cholera, malaria among others.

He said it has also negative effect on the environment by polluting the air with bad odor and making the land inhabitable.

“The significance of personal and community hygiene to safeguard human health is irrefutable; hence according to UNICEF 892,000,000 people are practicing open defecation world over.

“India is ranked first with high rate of open defecation in the world and Nigerian is second. While in Africa, Nigeria is ranked first.

“This among other reasons promoted President Muhammadu Buhari to signed Executive Order 009 on 21st November, 2019 and set a target for eradicating open defecation in Nigeria on or before 2025”, he noted.

In a bid to complement federal government’s effort, Governor Buni said the state government deemed it fit to take the advocacy campaign against the menace to the 17 local government areas to sensitize people on the dangers and negative consequences of open defecation.

According to him, the move is to protect the environment, culture, norms and values as people, adding to be an open defecation free society also reduces the incidence of disease and other anti social behaviour in the state.

“When open defecation is not properly managed, the diseases causing organism in human excreta find their way back to our food and water through run off, while in some instances houseflies can perch on these open excreta and settle on edibles, thereby infecting those that ingest the food or drinks”, Buni stressed.

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Coronavirus In Nigeria: NCDC Issues Warning On Gatherings As FG Approves National Sports Festival




Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned that mass gatherings can cause the spread of infectious diseases including coronavirus.

The Director General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in a chat with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Ihekweazu noted that agency is constantly monitoring the epidemiological situation in the country.

He stated that NCDC recommends the cancellation of mass gatherings, in compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

“We are not advising the cancellation of gatherings, but our advice may change as the epidemiological situation evolves. This is assessed on a daily basis and regular updates can be found on”, he said.

The official listed gatherings that should be highly monitored.

The he explained included provision of “more entry and exit points, more food points, ensure hand-washing facilities with soap and water are readily available.”

Ihekweazu added that state ministries of health should be informed of such event and location assessed by officials.

The NCDC warning came hours the Nigerian government said it won’t stop the National Sports Festival in Edo State over coronavirus fears.

The event will be held in Benin from March 22 to April 1, 2020.

“Those who are looking in any way suspicious will be disallowed entry straightaway, so that they don’t pose any kind of risk to others until their symptoms are clear”, Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, told the media .

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APC CRISIS: Drama As high Court Orders Gaidom To Assume Oshiomhole’s Office




A Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, has granted an interim order declaring Victor Giadom, acting National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to act as the party’s National Chairman.

The Judge, Justice Samira Bature gave the order on Monday after listening to an ex-parte motion filed by Mustapha Salihu, the party’s national vice chairman, north-east.

In the motion, Salihu had prayed the court to allow Giadom operate as APC’s acting National Chairman pending the decision of the party’s National Executive Council, NEC.

Salihu also prayed the court for an order restraining the APC and its officers or anyone from preventing Giadom from functioning as the acting chairman.

He noted that Gaidom should be allowed as acting Chairman pending the hearing of the motion on notice.

Justice Bature granted all the prayers sought by Salihu before adjourning the matter to March 20.

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